What defines “normal?” It seems to be a word that can cause us a certain amount of stress, especially if we are parents. Is normal what most kids are being, doing or having? Who decides? Normal seems to be our cultural stamp of approval, and what if our children don’t fit into this standard of measure that can so often feel arbitrary?
As we know, no two people are ever exactly alike and that certainly applies to our kids. We like to think that is what’s so special about them, that they’re unique and individual. At the same time, we also want them to fit in with their peers, and feel comfortable in their own skin. Children first learn about self-esteem from their parents; by how accepted they feel, and through what is said to them.
How can we support our kids feeling normal while still being their unique selves?
Can we let go of the notion that our kids have to meet a certain standard? How invested are we in the notion that they are accepted as “normal”?
The process starts with the acceptance of our kids. We want them to know it’s “normal” to be whomever they choose to be. When they feel accepted and encouraged by us, it reinforces the self-esteem that is so often eroded when they start school and are subject to other’s judgments. What we say to them is a powerful tool in this process. We always have a choice in what we say to our children.
Are we reacting to what they are doing, being, or wearing? Or are we choosing what reinforces their self-esteem?
We can do this by holding the intention that we will support our kids in their individuality. Intention is very powerful as it creates the energy toward any goal. Once we define our intention, what we then say to them in support of it will feel good to us. When we feel good, we are in alignment with what we want. This is our Internal Guidance System communicating with us.
Conversely, when we speak to our kids in a way that doesn’t support our intent, we won’t feel good.
For example: Your child is studious and a bit of a book worm. He spends a great deal of time by himself doing schoolwork, and he is truly happy being this way. If your wish is that he fit the standard of “normal”, which may mean being involved in school sports, and you express and encourage your wish, then you won’t be supporting his individuality.
On the other hand, you may encourage the same child to be happy with whom he is and create what he feels motivated to create and be by supporting his want to be studious.
The important thing is to decide who we want to be as parents. Do we want to guide and encourage, or control and force our kids to fit into a mold and perhaps lose themselves in the process?
Ways to encourage your kids in feeling supported:
1) Let them know you have no judgment regarding how they express who they are.
2) Praise them for what they accomplish and create for themselves.
3) Guide them in following their Internal Guidance, in doing what feels good to them.
4) Encourage them to expand upon and try new things and activities, without being attached to whether they will or not.
5) Model for them your individuality and demonstrate your freedom of choice.
6) Help them express who they are from an emotional place of confidence, not fear.
Children naturally want to express who they really are, and if we allow them to do this with our love and support, then they have the opportunity to maintain a healthy self esteem that will serve to support them in their subsequent years.
Please feel free to comment.
© 2014. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.